Should I Always Be Present?

‘being present at all times’ is not always a good thing and it can lead to disappointment.

Yoshitoshi, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


The term “presence” can mean a number of things.

We usually use it to refer to many different aspects of being in the moment such as time, place, attention, and awareness.

When a human says to another “I am present” they may mean that they are listening and paying attention, or at the moment with the other person.

They could also be referring to their physical location such as being at a party or meeting.

The term “present” can also be used to refer to a state of mind.

I wonder if it is possible for a human being to always be present while concomitantly allowing some time to pass so that they can have their own thoughts and not feel like they are neglecting the person who is speaking?

There are two sides to this, both of which should be considered in order to give a complete answer.

The first I will address is the aspect of:

Human life and living.

It has been stated many times by philosophers before me that

“life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans”.

This statement may seem rather trite but it does have some serious implications regarding the nature of life from an objective point of view, or at least my own view on it.

In particular, it implies that life simply isn’t predictable and one shouldn’t try to be so as well since trying too hard can just lead to disappointment.

For example, when you say “I am present”, it might mean that you are in the here and now, focused on your current task, or understand what is happening at the moment.

A good example of this is the case where one makes plans for a family gathering which they really look forward to and then when it happens, there are quite a few unplanned events that occur.

This could lead to frustration in some cases but if you have trained yourself not to expect too much from these occasions then you will be able to enjoy them more as well.

The Nature of Time

Now the second side of this is to do with the nature of time and how we use it.

I would say that time is an important resource that should not be taken for granted but instead utilized in a way that benefits your own life.

For example, if you are at work or school then using all your available free time to plan out what you will do next week can be interesting and worthwhile but when there are still other people around who may enjoy talking to, it could be unhelpful since they also have their own projects going on.

This is a rather simplistic understanding of the nature of time but it can be argued that time is, in fact, finite and so we should use it as efficiently as possible.

This ties back into the previous point on how planning things out too much can result in disappointment since you are expecting everything to go according to plan.

I’d also like to add that I am not saying you should give up on your plans and live in the present.

Instead what I am saying is that there are some occasions where you just need to relax a little bit, especially if it’s for the sake of other people.

Enjoy Your life While You Plan it.

In summary,

I would say that ‘being present at all times’ is not always a good thing and it can lead to disappointment.

Instead, you should try to enjoy the time you have with other people while still planning out your own life.

Pieces of the integral man. Specialist in responsible use of psychedelics.

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